A sample of enrollment jumps and reasons behind them

Michael Baston, president of Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio), gives high-fives during convocation to kick off the new academic year. (Photo: Tri-C)

Other community colleges that responded to CC Daily’s inquiry also mostly have positive numbers to report as of August.

  • Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland was up 4.4% in headcount and 6.3% in full-time equivalent (FTE) for the summer term, year-over-year. The college reported spikes of 11.3% in headcount and 10.5% in FTE for the fall. Possible reasons included an increase in dual-enrollment (College Credit Plus) populations and new high school students, new financial opportunities to help returning students resolve debt, a simplified enrollment process as a result of a Lean Six Sigma effort, and increased outreach and marketing.
SUNY Orange gave new students T-shirts last week for the first day of the fall semester. (Photo: SUNY Orange)
  • SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York, saw a first day year-over-year enrollment increase of 11.5% in FTEs, and overall headcount is up 7.5%, the highest increases in more than two decades. More than 55% of fall students are full-time.
  • Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York, reported an increase in new students, in contrast to the past few years. Improved advising and an emphasis on high-interest programming — expanded nursing facilities to take on more students, and a new cannabis horticulture program — were seen as drivers.
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville has seen an increase in summer and fall enrollments after working hard to personalize marketing, adding dedicated advisors to give students regular and hands-on communication, creating a faculty communications plan that pushes out messages to students regarding registration and payment deadlines, holding an annual Saturday open house for the past three years that’s drawn more than 1,200, and reintroducing face-to-face orientation this summer.
  • Maysville Community & Technical College in Kentucky is above 20% in dual-credit matriculation, the highest since 2016; and the college was seeing a 57% applicant conversion, up 5% since the beginning of August.
  • Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and Lawrence, Massachusetts, saw headcount for summer rise 22% over 2022, and FTE was up 24.5%. Fall headcount was down slightly, 2.5%, while FTE was up 1.2%. But the college expected those numbers to improve rapidly with Gov. Maura Healey’s signature on the MassReconnect Program legislation that provides free associate degree and certificate access at state community colleges for state residents ages 25 and older; and the Tuition Equity Bill providing undocumented students access to in-state tuition and financial aid.
A Palm Beach State College student receives advising during an open house at the college. (Photo: PBSC)
  • Palm Beach State College, with five campuses in south Florida, saw a 2% increase in FTE for summer 2023 and expects to meet its target of 3% over last fall, three weeks before the last day of add/drop. Among the reasons the college cited: streamlined onboarding; constant communication with former, current and prospective students; a recent Choose PBSC Open House that attracted more than 1,200 attendees and brought in more than 500 enrollments, with wraparound services like application and federal student aid application assistance; virtual information and admissions sessions, appointments and other services at students’ convenience; and several programs now available fully online.
  • Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, saw increases of 7.1% overall and 8.7% for returning students for the summer term. For fall, the college was up 3% overall and 7.9% for returning students. The college is offering Career Pathways Scholarships worth up to $5,000 over one academic year for tuition, books and course-related materials, which covers most credit-based offerings and several non-credit programs.
  • Rogue Community College, with three campuses in southern Oregon, saw an increase in credit-bearing headcount of 12.6% and an increase in FTE of 15.7% for the summer. English as a second language, non-credit headcount soared 39%. For the fall semester, headcount and FTE looked to be on track for increases of 4.5% and 18.6%, respectively. Strategies undertaken have included enrollment-oriented tactics like a total of five open houses in May and August, “Fast Pass” high school registration offered at 11 high schools that enrolled 350 students; and the “Learn More to Earn More” marketing campaign last spring. On the registration side, the college made several adjustments and efforts, including early registration campaigns and improved early alert strategies to boost referrals of inactive or struggling students.
  • The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District in California reported an increase of 19.6% in early enrollment numbers for the fall at Evergreen Valley College and a 17.2% increase at San Jose City College. The district has seen overall enrollment spikes of 32.6% among American Indian students, 29% among Black/African American students, and 16.1% among Latinx students. Successful strategies have included a free tuition program with zero fees for those registered for at least six course units, as well as increased dual-credit offerings in partnership with local high schools.

About the Author

Ed Finkel
Ed Finkel is an education writer based in Illinois.
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